Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who Is Able?

Depressing things are somewhere around all the time. Look them in the face when you have to, but don't give them any authority.

Dana Bate
Hello Arlene
God does not make cripples.

Since I've been walking on crutches I have observed a not so strange dichotomy among my fellow earthlings. I don't know if there are any perfect people living on the planet. If there are I wish they would come out of hiding. I guess everyone has something wrong with them that poses a problem to living a perfectly happy life. Most of my problems have been of the invisible variety, namely with teeth, eyesight, tender feet and stomach trouble. But now that I'm on crutches my infirmity is out there for all the world to see.

If I approach the door to the supermarket some people will hold the door for me, others will purposely not. If I am crossing the street and the light changes one driver will wait until I am safely on the side walk while another will blow his horn to get me to hurry.

What has divided the human race in half when it comes to dealing with someone who is crippled? What I used to think was just simple rudeness and selfishness, I've come to understand has a psycho-philosophical basis for it. There are some people who are disgusted by and unable to look upon other people's defects. Maybe they go into denial, or turn away because they find it offensive or maybe, what is even worse, they say "There but for the grace of God go I."

There are those who would deny a blind person the right to have books in Braille or to allow sign language for the deaf at a public event. They are offended by kneeling buses and ramps for wheelchairs. They would deny any special privileges for the mentally disabled. It's the your-on-your-own mentality.

There is a word to describe this kind of thinking, it's "ableism." An ableist is one who believes a disabled person is a drone on society and should not be allowed to suck the vitals out of everyone else's life by being indulged in their incompleteness and awarded special considerations the rest of us have no need for.

But the very worst kind of ableists are those who say that if you are born blind or become blind through illness or accident then it is God's will and we have no right to interfere. That is gross, raging, fire breathing hypocrisy disguised as religious sentiment.

Ableists have no authority in my world. I can't agree with nor understand them. But if one doesn't want to hold the door open for me, it's okay, I'll get there anyway. And I'll take my time crossing the street, thank you.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up


Geo. said...

Instructive as always, DB. I hadn't heard of ableists, but would agree they suffer a disability greater than those against whom they discriminate.

pacific62 said...

The word "cripple" is very offensive. Perhaps "ableists" only live down there as I do not know of any who live up here. We seem to be more progressive in terms of human rights, dignity and respect and we are all deemed to be equal.

Jon said...

People have different ways of dealing with uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately, courtesy and compassion are a thing of the past. Many people are selfish and condescending. Others are completely thoughtless. Some are purposefully rude.
I feel that the older I get, the more compassionate I have become.

Lori said...

"Look them in the face, but don't give them any authority" is such great advice -- for depression, for anxiety, for a lot of things. Thank you for this!